Mrs. Beasley’s bullish on holiday

Ken Harris, the CEO of Mrs. Beasley’s, says he anticipates strong holiday sales for the baked goods gift cataloger despite the economic downturn. Harris went so far as to issue a press release on Dec. 1 to publicize that his Beverly Hills, CA-based company is seeing more interest in food gifts this year than in the past, which he attributes to consumers’ desire to purchase “comforting and less-expensive gifts” this year.

Harris’s confidence is despite the anthrax-related problems that resulted in delays in the delivery of Mrs. Beasley’s catalogs by 8-10 days. And with an extra weekend before Christmas this year and the consumers’ preoccupation with world events, he expects a very late Christmas rush, with many orders coming in as late as Dec. 22 for Christmas delivery.

In acknowledgments of the weak economy, Mrs. Beasley’s added 20 new items this season to broaden its assortment in the $20-$30 range. “We expect to get a lot of trade down from customers who previously gave more elaborate gourmet food and wine gift baskets, electronics and crystal,” Harris said.

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